By Adrian H. Sablan
Technology Transfer Division, IPOPHL
Resolute efforts to ramp up the country’s aggregate innovation output must be paying off—albeit relatively gradually—with select higher education institutions (HEI) buttressing their innovation capacity through a more competitive research and development portfolio, as well as a thriving intellectual property (IP) culture, translating precious ideas into tangible, commerciable assets.
Through the Patent Protection Incentive Package (PPIP), a project conceived and implemented by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), patent applications for local inventions have reached a total of 107, an almost 200 percent spike in local filing before PPIP was launched. The patent applications were filed by various HEIs across the country who are members of the Philippine network of Innovation and Technology Support Office (ITSO). The ITSO is one of the flagship programs of IPOPHL that aimed to constitute a choice core of HEIs, research and development institutes, and support private industries who will host a patent library in their respective institutions. Each patent library, manned and operated by the institution’s personnel, is mandated to mainstream the culture of IP in the regions and capitalize on this as tool for accelerating national economic growth and development. The ITSO is tasked, specifically, to use IP to better the quality of researches by member-HEIs through conducting and appropriating the benefits of patent information search to determine state of the art, or prior technologies, primarily to avoid duplication of technology outputs. ITSO is to protect, through the patent protection system, these technology outputs—or tangible IP assets—as products of a rigorous scientific research. Also, each ITSO is to provide IP and patent related services to their regions and make IP accessible and easily usable by their external constituents—in particular, the technology markets and industries within the service geography of the ITSO members.
The PPIP, launched in March 2012, provides incentives to ITSO members. IPOPHL waives 100 percent of the fees charged for each invention patent filed. The incentive defrays fees up to the 15th year of annuity, should the application be finally granted patent protection. The PPIP project will expire by December 2015.
Before PPIP, between 2007 and 2011 or about four years, the patent applications from Philippine universities numbered only 43. When PPIP was introduced, the local applications almost tripled to 107 in a span of over 2 years between 2012 and 2014.
An HEI in the South, University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) in Davao City, led the pack of local patent filers. The university filed 34 patent applications through the PPIP as of November 2014. USeP is followed by the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City with 15 filings. Adamson University in Manila had filed 8 patent applications, while Bicol University and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) filed 6 and 5 patent applications, respectively. Of the top PPIP filers, USC is first of ITSOs that had successful technology commercialization story with its mango peelings technology invention.
Meanwhile, the 2014 Global Innovation Index (GII), which annually assesses each country’s national innovation output, shows that the Philippines has slid to Rank 100 (based on 2013 output data), a 10-notch plunge from the 2013 GII report, which ranked the Philippines at 90th (based on 2012 output data). The 2014 GII report shows that the Philippines is only ahead of Cambodia (106th) and Myanmar (140th) in Southeast Asia. Ranking 71st, Vietnam beat the Philippines to the GII innovation index.
That notwithstanding, IPOPHL is bullish about the prospect of stabilizing the global position of the Philippines in innovation ranking by next year, if the latest patent application performance of local universities, abetted by PPIP, should be any positive indication.